Well, I’ve just finished watching the latest episode of “Doctor Who”, so I thought that I’d write a review of it (apologies in advance if it’s slightly rambling. EDIT: I’ve also just spotted and corrected a few spelling/grammar errors (and other mistakes) I made when I originally typed this review too).
As I say every week, I’m not sure how many episodes of this series I’ll get round to reviewing (or how promptly I’ll be able to review them) but I’ll try to look at as many as possible.
Before I go any further, I should also point out that this review will probably contain SPOILERS. You have been warned.
“Time Heist” begins when The Doctor visits Clara’s house whilst she’s preparing to go on another date with Danny. However, just before Clara leaves, the phone inside the TARDIS starts ringing and the Doctor decides to answer it.
Suddenly, the Doctor and Clara wake up in a mysterious room and discover that their memory of the past few hours has been wiped. Not only that, they are also joined by a cybernetically-augmented computer hacker called Psi and a shapeshifter called Saibra – both of whom have also had their memories wiped. Not only that, the room also contains audio recordings from all four of them saying that they’ve agreed to wipe their memories.
There is also a mysterious briefcase in the middle of the room and, when the Doctor opens it, the screen inside the case plays a “Saw“-style distorted message from a hooded man called “The Architect”. He tells them that they have all been hired to rob the bank of Karabraxos – an ultra-secure bank which holds the wealth of the wealthiest people in the universe…..
Yes, it’s a sci-fi bank heist 🙂 Seriously, there really aren’t enough of these in the sci-fi genre – I mean, the only other one I can think of is in a three-part episode of “Farscape” (I can’t remember the episode title, I think it was either “Liars, Guns and Money” or “We’re So Screwed”). So, yes, I liked this episode even before I started watching it.
As you might also expect, “Time Heist” is a very cinematic episode and it has the kind of fast editing that you would expect in any good heist movie.
Not only that, as I said earlier, many of the scenes involving “The Architect” (and his mysterious trail of clues inside the bank) are also at least slightly reminiscent of the “Saw” movies too. One of the things that I really love about this new series of “Doctor Who” is the fact that it’s taken a lot more inspiration from famous sci-fi/horror movies than any of the previous series did.
Another great thing about this episode are the two other main characters – Psi and Saibra. Saibra is a wonderfully gothic character and Psi reminded me a lot of the main character from William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” too.
Although we don’t get to learn too much of their backstories (mainly because Psi has wiped quite a few of his other memories previously and because Saibra has spent most of her life imitating other people), they’re probably two of the coolest supporting characters that I’ve seen so far this series and it would be absolutely great if there was a spin-off series featuring them.
Likewise, Keeley Hawes gives a wonderfully chilling performance as both the manager of the bank and as Karabraxos. Seriously, I haven’t really seen her play an “evil” character before, but she does it absolutely brilliantly.
The set design in this episode is absolutely spectacular too. The bank looks as palatial and futuristic as you would expect and all of the gloomy service corridors beneath it really add a lot to the cyberpunk/horror atmosphere of the episode.
Likewise, the special effects in this episode are fairly good too – including a really cool-looking telepathic alien creature called “The Teller” who can literally melt people’s brains with his mind. Yes, it isn’t as gruesome as it sounds – but it’s still pretty cool when you see it for the first time.
As for the writing in this episode, it’s spectacularly good – and there are a couple of really good time-travel related plot twists near the end of the episode too (which make a lot more sense than the plot twists in the previous episode did).
And, yes, you probably have a heart of stone if you don’t shed at least one tear when you finally get to learn exactly why everyone is robbing the bank near the end of the episode.
Not only that, since most of the episode focuses on the main characters trying to outwit the bank’s deadly security systems, there isn’t really time for any annoying bickering between The Doctor and Clara – which is a refreshing change from previous episodes too 🙂
All in all, “Time Heist” is probably one of my favourite episodes of the new series of “Doctor Who”. It’s dramatic, it’s intriguing and it has a lot more cyberpunk stuff in it than I’d expect from an episode of “Doctor Who” too.
Although this episode is called “Time Heist” you won’t feel like it’s just robbed you of 50 minutes of your time (unlike the previous episode). Let’s hope that the rest of the series stays at this amazing level of quality 🙂
If I had to give it a rating out of five, then it would get five.